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What may drive hirez acceptance...


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#1 of 181 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 16 2003 - 02:31 AM

is cheap universal players.

I was browsing the Pioneer 563 thread and that thing quickly shot up to 10 pages in length here on the HTF. Most of the posts appeared to be from people also wanting to buy the unit at least in large part for the added hirez capability of either Super Audio or DVD Audio.

I guess at a price point of $152 (gotapex) and higher, these things are selling like hotcakes. The local retailers here in Atlanta report heavy sales.

With the story on LSI producing the inexpensive new fully capable DSD/DVDA chips, I think we are going to see more of this.

I am starting to believe strongly that most future DVD players will be capable for both DVD Audio and Super Audio. That could really drive some big titles to be released which, in turn, will further drive sales of universal players.

Perhaps the format "war" is ending with a victory on both sides.

What do you think?
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#2 of 181 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted August 16 2003 - 02:44 AM

Until every DVD player (or the majority of them) includes DVD-A and/or SACD, and all newly released titles are offered on DVD-A and/or SACD... Hi-Rez will remain a format for the very few, while the rest of the world carries on with CD and MP3.

#3 of 181 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted August 16 2003 - 03:26 AM

Lee,

Most people now of days are buying sub $100 players. Local retailers in the Northeast area of the United states report much heavier sales for these cheaper players than players in the $150-200 range. We will have to wait and see on further Universal players because up to this point the only two companies providing such units are Pioneer and Zenith, which does not have a reputation for the zenith of quality.

If Panasonic (pro-DVD-A) and Sony (pro SACD), start putting out Universal players then there might be something to get excited about. Until then, I think it is difficult to draw any conclusions on the acceptance of Hi-res from an minute segment of the population found on a home theater message board.

J

#4 of 181 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 16 2003 - 10:19 AM

Quote:
Local retailers in the Northeast area of the United states report much heavier sales for these cheaper players than players in the $150-200 range.


Still, I think my point holds. A large portion of DVD player buyers are buying in this $150-200 range. If they start only finding universals only in this range, then that will likely prompt them into trying a Super Audio or DVD Audio. I played a Super Audio disc for a friend today on his HT and he was impressed and said he is going to start buying hirez for his player.

As the LSI chips come out, we will likely see sub-$100 players as well so that other very large Joe SixPack may even see DVDA/SACD as a standard feature. Let's face it-the chip is dirt cheap in volume.

Quote:
If Panasonic (pro-DVD-A) and Sony (pro SACD), start putting out Universal players then there might be something to get excited about.


I think this could happen if either Panny or Sony feel that they need to compete with the Denons and Pioneers of the world.

Quote:
Until then, I think it is difficult to draw any conclusions on the acceptance of Hi-res from an minute segment of the population found on a home theater message board.


I'm not drawing any conclusions but I do feel it is strong evidence that it is prompting early adopters to try the format at very budget levels.
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#5 of 181 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted August 16 2003 - 01:22 PM

Lee, I certainly agree that the presence of an inexpensive universal player, with the prospect of more to come, is a good thing. I also agree with Justin in that I would not necessarily guage anything about general consumer tendencies based on our highly self-selected little 'consumer society' here at HTF.

Where I think the problem lies is this: many consumers have spent the last 15 years or so replacing their vinyl collections with CDs, because, to the average consumer (and I'm not interested in a CD vs vinyl debate here!), CD represented a huge improvement, if not in sound quality than in convenience, durability, etc. The high-rez stuff doesn't, for most folks, I don't think, represent an improvement of the same order of magnitude. It looks like a CD! It feels like a CD! Whoa, it costs more than a CD! Wait, you tell me there are two formats? Yeah, yeah, I know...

Folks are already scaling back on their redbook CD purchases, to the point where the music industry is sweating the retail side of things... Why would they be eager to buy into yet another form of prerecorded music, which isn't substantially different from the one they already own, at least in the terms they will likely hold critical.

I'm not trying to insult the music-buying public. Actually, I'm giving them credit for being savvy consumers, in one sense. I think that SACD and DVD-A will continue to represent a very small portion of the market, and that redbook CD will be the dominant pre-recorded format for retail for a while longer. However, as you know from my other posts elsewhere, I think redbook CD will be trumped eventually, by DVD-Video of music content.

Very interesting discussion...


#6 of 181 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted August 16 2003 - 02:13 PM

Putting improved resolution aside, even if the price on universal players drop, most people will need to buy a new receiver and more speakers to enjoy SACD and DVD-A. IMO, surround sound will be the selling point for the general public to buy into one of the high rez formats because all the people who listen to music primarily through their P.O.S. boom box or computer speakers will not give a crap about improved resolution. Think of it this way: look at how virtually all hardware and most software is DTS compatible and how few people actually playback DVDs in DTS (or Dolby 5.1 for that matter).
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#7 of 181 OFFLINE   Bill Cowmeadow

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Posted August 16 2003 - 04:52 PM

Copy protection possibilities of DVD-A will provide the vehicle for studios to invest in Hi-rez titles and steer them from the red-book CD's of today. It's inevitable. Piracy/sharing has to end. Unlike software sharing/piracy, music is sought by all, those who copy software instead of buying, would probably never buy the titles they "steal". Music is a different animal. My next purchase in the HT arena will be a universal player.

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#8 of 181 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted August 16 2003 - 07:09 PM

From what I can see here & in other forums, multichannel music fans (me included) are really into that format. There doesn't seem to be any gray area fans. So while we may make up a small minority of listeners, I think we are a stable enough group of buyers that the music industry could make some decent & consistent money (albeit small amounts).

And we all know most "regular" people could give a rat's arse about the fine detail provided by the stereo hi-res tracks, in either 96kHz/192kHz PCM or DSD--it's just too subtle. Especially when heard over a $400 HTiB.

So I think what would truly sell hi-res to more people is not so much hi-res but the multichannel aspect of either format. About 1/3 of my friends, acquaintances & family I let listen to my surround discs get excited about them (the others usually just say "Uh, O.K., so there's music coming from the back......so what?" Posted Image).

But for the public to get excited about MCH music, they need one little thing:

THEY NEED TO KNOW MULTICHANNEL MUSIC EXISTS.

None of the 14 people I've had listen to MCH music knew it existed before I demonstrated it--none.

And this is in the last six months or so. Nine had vaguely heard of both sacd & dvd-audio because of Best Buy's banner thingies over their CD racks, but didn't actually know what they did.

And as far as people balking at buying a surround system, get this: I was at Target a couple nights ago & they sell a complete 5.1 HTiB by Audiovox for......drum roll......139 bucks! I just so happened to have my Nightfly dvd-audio with me Posted Image so I slipped it in and it, um, made sound! The Dolby Digital track sounded a little tinny (similar to a good boombox), but nothing irritating and the baby subwoofer actually had palpable bass. Yea, I know most people wouldn't buy this system because of its basic-ness, but since I've found out its mostly people under 25 that really liked MCH music (in my little sample group) & don't have lots of disposable income because of their other hobbies, this isn't a problem. They all said even $300 would be acceptable for a "nice" HTiB (FYI: they all were amazed that I had invested $1700 into an HT system--including turntable & VCR--and I don't even own a subwoofer or center channel yet).

So if any industry people are reading this, y'all need to get your marketing butts in gear--we audio hobbyists can only afford so much free Heineken and mixed Planters nuts to expose people to multichannel music!

LJ

#9 of 181 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted August 17 2003 - 03:53 AM

Well, Lance and Angelo are getting to the heart of the matter: Most people — the so-vast-it's-not-even-funny majority of them — have not the foggiest what SACD and DVD-A are. To them, redbook CD is the best there has ever been. Thus, to tell them there are two superior formats invites either a blank stare or outright disbelief.

The record companies, of course, haven't done much to help. It's sort of the way the commercial broadcast networks don't even advertise the fact they are broadcasting in high def.

Very frustrating.

#10 of 181 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 17 2003 - 05:21 AM

Quote:
Putting improved resolution aside, even if the price on universal players drop, most people will need to buy a new receiver and more speakers to enjoy SACD and DVD-A.


Not really as either hirez format is a step change in sonics across just two channels.

Quote:
IMO, surround sound will be the selling point for the general public to buy into one of the high rez formats because all the people who listen to music primarily through their P.O.S. boom box or computer speakers will not give a crap about improved resolution.


For some this may be true, but I think for others, there will be an interest in "high definition" sound if only to keep up with their neighbors.

The main thing to realize about my posts is that I think there is a "tipping point" involved here whereby things can momentum from a cultural standpoint in our society and eventually get adopted in a much wider breadth.

Quote:
Especially when heard over a $400 HTiB.


Hirez is still an improvement over this as well.

Quote:
Most people — the so-vast-it's-not-even-funny majority of them — have not the foggiest what SACD and DVD-A are. To them, redbook CD is the best there has ever been.


This may be true today, but I see evidence that things are changing rapidly by the number of my neighbors who are not audiophiles who ask about Super Audio. This is just a matter of education and better marketing/visibility.

A lot of Bob Dylan fans are going to be wondering what Super Audio is come September. Posted Image

Quote:
The record companies, of course, haven't done much to help.


Well Sony has taken out many ads and done lots of press tours...the others understandably are being tight with money spent on new formats as we are in a recession.
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#11 of 181 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted August 17 2003 - 05:26 AM

Lee, maybe torture or an S & M session would help you understand that MOST PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT Hi-Rez audio!
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!


#12 of 181 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted August 17 2003 - 05:53 AM

Quote:
Lee, maybe torture or an S & M session would help you understand that MOST PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT Hi-Rez audio!


Dominatrix Rachael,

Will you be hosting the session? Posted Image

J

#13 of 181 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted August 17 2003 - 06:02 AM

Posted Image Justin, I'd get a black leather teddy and black boots for the occasion!!!!
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#14 of 181 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted August 17 2003 - 06:04 AM

Quote:
The main thing to realize about my posts is that I think there is a "tipping point" involved here whereby things can momentum from a cultural standpoint in our society and eventually get adopted in a much wider breadth.


I just don't see this happening here, as I have introduced numerous friends and family to Hi-res audio and they just dont give a damn. They do not view Hi-res as a step change over redbook, because quite honestly, most people do not pay much attention to the fidelity of the recording, but instead perfer to just listen to the music. Content over quality in most cases.

There is no "tipping point" for Hi-res music...the next "tipping point" in audio already occured with MP3 becoming the new format of choice among the masses. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will once again be able to enjoy the music.

Quote:
A lot of Bob Dylan fans are going to be wondering what Super Audio is come September.


Just like the Stones fans who flocked out and bought SACD players in mass quantities? Most people I know bought the non-SACD 40 Licks, as opposed to any of the other Stones releases. Most people I know do not replace older CDs with new remasters if their original discs still play fine. Remember CD was supposed to be "Perfect Sound Forever".

J

#15 of 181 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 17 2003 - 06:27 AM

Quote:
Lee, maybe torture or an S & M session would help you understand that MOST PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT Hi-Rez audio!


Thanks but I am trying to quit. Posted Image

Quote:
I just don't see this happening here, as I have introduced numerous friends and family to Hi-res audio and they just dont give a damn.


Won't they care if the very best recordings of their favorite artists are available in hirez single inventory? Why buy all those albums and not hear the best part of the disc?

Quote:
There is no "tipping point" for Hi-res music...the next "tipping point" in audio already occured with MP3 becoming the new format of choice among the masses. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will once again be able to enjoy the music.


Just because you disagree with me does not mean I am not "enjoying the music". I am having a great time in my new listening room and I just about have the whole thing tweaked perfectly until we begin HT construction. I have had quite a resurgence of audio interest the past two years since I bought my 777ES. In fact, we just secured a new guitarist to record. I spend a lot more time listening to music than posting items here.

I can understand you conservativism Justin but I really strongly see things turning to wider acceptance for hirez, notably Super Audio. I think the upcoming Super Audio title slate is very strong, I see cheap yet good sounding universals and see more coming, I see continued strong press in both audiophile and mainstream publications on hirez formats (Jazziz has a two-pager on Super Audio), I continue to hear from name engineers who are slowly warming up to DSD or are completely on board, and many other signs such as the improved Best Buy selection.

Look at Sony's latest Super Audio products-they look great and they hit many different price points. I am anxious to hear the new ES player.

Quote:
Most people I know do not replace older CDs with new remasters if their original discs still play fine. Remember CD was supposed to be "Perfect Sound Forever".


That's very different from mine and the label's experience. Look at all the people who have purchased new Pink Floyd remasters over the years.

I just heard the Brothers in Arms XRCD24 at Ron Reda's place. It sound awesome! Now I have to fork over more money to get this great disc. Posted Image
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#16 of 181 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted August 17 2003 - 09:27 AM

Quote:
Won't they care if the very best recordings of their favorite artists are available in hirez single inventory? Why buy all those albums and not hear the best part of the disc?


Because they simply don't care, as long as they can hear the music they like - they're happy.

It doesn't make them wrong or right, it's just their priorities are different than yours.

I'm sure there are higher quality items that people you know go out of their way for - which you just don't care enough about. They purchase the higher quality foods, clothing, jewellery, cars, furniture, etc - yet you find that what you have is good enough and don't feel the need for improvement. Just like you not caring about any/all of these items, they don't care about Hi-rez.

We all have a point where good is good enough

Remember, we're in a time where MP3's are popluar, and P&S and non-anamorphic DVDs are selling well.

We have to remember that WE are in the minority.

Now can someone explain why Sony isn't including SACD compatability in every single DVD and CD player they produce? I think their lack of total committment shows just how small a blip on the radar SACD is for the company.

Hell, I can't even find any SACD players in the Sony Store and the salespeople know nothing about the format and have been pushing DVD-A. What's wrong with that picture?

#17 of 181 OFFLINE   Joe Casey

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Posted August 17 2003 - 10:29 AM

FWIW, I'd be the first to applaud hi-rez going main-stream, but for my own reasons (I like it). I bet if hi-rez capability was included in every player/HTB and CD was replaced by SACD/DVDA, 99.9% of the buying public would NOT know the difference (nor would they care). Just my opinion.
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#18 of 181 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 17 2003 - 12:16 PM

Quote:
Hell, I can't even find any SACD players in the Sony Store and the salespeople know nothing about the format and have been pushing DVD-A. What's wrong with that picture?


What Sony store are you talking about?

They have Super Audio everywhere in the New York store which I have visited like a dozen times and salespeople are always talking about it.

Frankly, there seems to me to be a lot of Sony bashing going on here.
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#19 of 181 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted August 17 2003 - 12:29 PM

Lee, nobody is bashing Sony. I own a bunch of their stuff. If it looks like a dog, walks like a dog, and barks...it must be a dog, eh? Sony has given up, to a great extent, on their own format. This is the reality. Their actions show this. Maybe they'll change course again? I hope so!
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#20 of 181 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted August 17 2003 - 12:46 PM

Quote:
So while we may make up a small minority of listeners, I think we are a stable enough group of buyers that the music industry could make some decent & consistent money (albeit small amounts).


One DVD-Video title alone (Spiderman, I believe) outsold all CD titles in the U.S. combined last year. So, sales of high-rez audio were hardly even a faint blip on the radar screen. With redbook CD flagging so badly, I suspect that the music industry is going to look at their buddies in the DVD industry and follow suit. It's a popular format that has exploded over the last few years, while SACD/DVD-A have been, and I think are likely to continue to be, fringe formats.

I think, as was aluded to in a post above, that you might see the record industry pour some resources into copy-protection of redbook CD, or increasingly embrace the DVD-Video format, before they'll turn to high-rez formats as the future of pre-recorded, retail music.



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